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A lockout will hurt some players more than others

Sep 17, 2012, 2:40 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

The exodus has begun. Just two days into the NHL lockout, star players are fleeing overseas to skate with European clubs and earn a paycheck.

And just so the owners know, Alex Ovechkin is prepared to stay in Russia for as long as it takes them to come to their senses.

“If the [NHL] continues to insist on their [demands], then it will take a full year,” Ovechkin told Sovietsky Sport (via Yahoo! Sports]. “That’s because we are not going to cave in. Then I will spend the entire season in the KHL. It’s an absolute reality.”

Granted, Ovechkin’s not your average NHLer. First of all, he’s Russian, so playing in the KHL won’t come with any culture shock. Actually it’ll probably be fun for him. Secondly, he’ll be paid handsomely and already has plenty of money in the bank.

Joe Thornton‘s got no problem playing in Europe for a spell, either. The Sharks’ captain is off to Switzerland to suit up for HC Davos, the same club he joined during the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out an entire NHL season.

In fact, Thornton met his wife in Switzerland.

“…she has a home there, we go there five weeks in the summer to see her family and I actually train with Davos when I’m over there,” Thornton told Monday. “I know the team real well, and they know me. It’s a natural fit for me to go back there and play.”

Shea Weber is another star in the “no skin off my back” category. Remember that he’ll only forfeit $1 million if there’s no NHL season, since $13 million of the $14 million he gets in 2012-13 is in the form of guaranteed signing bonuses.

But for players that either don’t want to go to Europe or can’t find a half-decent job over there, it won’t be so easy to pass the time.

Sidney Crosby has no immediate plans to head overseas.

Ditto for Jonathan Toews.

The Sedin twins have said they’ll wait until the entire season is threatened before exploring options in Sweden.

Then there are the young stars like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jeff Skinner that have been assigned to the AHL. Think those guys want to be riding the buses and making five figures?

This is one area where the NHLPA’s solidarity will be tested, since not every player will pay the same price as NHL games are missed.

The NHL’s season is set to begin Oct. 11.

  1. katra2logic - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    The players were ready this time around….

    Last time the players did not believe the owners would be stupid enough to close down the game, this time they KNOW the owners are that incompetent.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      But of course, who won’t be OK? The many hundreds of low-paid folks who work in and near the 30 NHL rinks and depend on NHL games for their livelihoods. Maybe Bettman will send them weekly checks to help them out.

  2. blomfeld - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    “Think those guys want to be riding the buses and making five figures?”


    Thanks Brough, as that sums it all up perfectly. Poor little Nugent-Hopkins is now going to suffer, having to ride a bus while making a lowly 5 figure salary ? … not to mention “Mister Integrity” himself, big man Ovechkin, who now shamelessly bolts back to Russia at the first sign of trouble … the absolute injustice of it all !

    It’s said that like adversity in life, the “possession of wealth” is another telling circumstance which always reveals one’s “true” character, whether that be for the better or for the worse. Well we’re sure now seeing what these NHL player’s “true” characters are all about, eh ? Nonetheless, there will eventually be a day of reckoning for all of these people … Ovechkin, Bettman, Parise, Daly, Luongo, Fehr, Weber … the lot of them. And when that day comes and the “hammer of decency” is finally brought down on their selfish “pea-sized” heads, these people will have no one to blame but their own “arrogant” selves.

    It’s unfortunate, as there is a better way …

  3. lordfletcher - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    the only people I feel bad for are those that do not play or coach NHL teams, but rely on them and their seasons to earn a salary. There are thousands of jobs being put on hold for people who make well under 50k per year

    • stakex - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:20 PM


      I don’t feel bad for any of the players, even the guys who “only” make 800k or less. They are very rich guys who got that way by doing nothing more then playing a game… and no matter who you agree with, this lockout is all about a bunch of millionairs fighting over who gets a bigger share of $3.3 billion.

      There all a**holes IMO at this point.

  4. ninerlover85 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    I am trying to start a fan movement of my very own! Please check out the FB page I created yesterday. If you agree, please “like” my page and spread the word! Thank you very much!!!

  5. jamestkirk2282 - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Reblogged this on Michael's Blog.

  6. spavs412 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Just sucks for is fans I paid my tickets off already and if there isn’t a season Pittsburgh will be out on 89 million dollars . So everyone gets hurt but the owners and players the small business around town get hurt regular folks won’t have work it all stinks!

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